Reflections Of A Golden Dream


Format: LP, Vinyl

In stock

Label: ,
Format: LP, Vinyl
Grade: New (About gradings)
Number of discs: 1
SKU: 57282
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Cosmic keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith recorded Reflections of a Golden Dream in 1976 for Bob Thiele’s Flying Dutchman label. This album came during the same year as the album Renaissance, released on RCA, inhabiting a similar musical territory to his now classic Expansions album released a year prior in 1975. Expansions is genre defining jazz-funk and soul-jazz, tinged with kaleidoscopic instrumentation, spiritual timbres and a space-age, inter-galactic ambience—this album much the same. Up until this point in his career, Smith had played with Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Gato Barbieri, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Max Roach and Pharoah Sanders, the latter bringing him into his free ensemble after the death of Coltrane in 1967. Smith was a late convert to electric keys, recording them for the first time in 1973 on the Pharoah recording Thembi. The song Astral Travelling—which subsequently became the title of his first album as a leader on Flying Dutchman—was born of him experimenting on a Fender Rhodes keyboard with Pharoah alongside, who insisted in recording what he was doing.

Reflections of a Golden Dream is an underrated Lonnie set, recorded during a transitional period in his career that would shortly see him sign a recording contract with Columbia, where he would branch out of his Flying Dutchman and Impulse era eclecticism and ethereality to more commercially accessible styles of jazz-funk and disco, working alongside the likes of Marcus Miller and Steve Thornton. On the album, we see Lonnie appearing alongside vintage sidemen from his spiritual output; Dave Hubbard on saxes and flute, Guillhermo Franco on percussion, brother Donald Smith on vocals, Jon Faddis on trumpet and flugel and Al Anderson on bass—even Patti Austin makes an appearance as a vocalist on Peace and Love, a surprising inclusion. The music is intricately layered; textures of percussion, flutes and other Asian wind instruments intertwine beautifully. The levitational accent of Smith’s keys, his celestial runs and astral ascends are truly divine, lifting you to a cloud like state of consciousness. Lonnie’s compositions are elegantly poised between spiritual jazz and dance-floor friendly funk and soul, accessing both the teachings from his spiritual background and contemporary lessons in popular black music, from James Brown to Sly Stone.

Set highlights include a funkified version of Beautiful Woman, an upbeat rendition of the original—recorded on his second studio album Cosmic Funk—featuring snappy bongos and impassioned vocals from brother Donald, a song that has a relentless drive and a spacious sonority, constructed in a similar mould to his jazz-funk favourite Expansions. Get Down Everybody (It’s Time For World Peace) is difficult to not tap your hands to, an upbeat and danceable cut with well-arranged, stabby horns and sultry female vocals that help propel the track towards a soul-funk trajectory. Smith’s keys are silky smooth, modulated with a wah-wah pedal which accents the track’s funky rhythmicality. Quiet Dawn is a warm, immersive bath, full of atmospherics and celestial percussion, impeccably well textured and deeply soothing. Sunbeams is a 6/8 shuffler with fantastic interplay between synthesisers and upright piano, a track that engages us with an acoustic ambience, Smith choosing upright over electric keys. Fine soprano sax playing from David Hubbard gently snakes between the scales. Like much of Lonnie Liston Smith’s output, it is transcendental and warming; optimistic vibrations and sunset melodies cradle your eardrums. The music has the effect of looking out onto a rippling lake on a summers evening, golden hour, the coppery hues of dying sunlight glinting off the shimmering surface, while exotic birds preen from their roosts in the treetops above.

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